A Los Angeles company that sold 100,000 lead-tainted lunchboxes to the state health department last year has been ordered to pay a $10-million fine for violating California laws on toxic substances, the L.A. Times reports.
Environmental activists and legal experts said the default judgment issued Tuesday in San Francisco County Superior Court against T-A Creations Inc. was the highest they could recall since voters approved Proposition 65 in 1986.
“We are shocked that a company would knowingly sell lead-tainted lunchboxes intended for California’s children,” said Michael Green, executive director of the Center for Environmental Health, an Oakland-based nonprofit group. “The judgment sends a strong signal that companies that put our children’s health at risk will pay the price.”
Spokesman Charles Margulis said the center notified T-A Creations in April 2006 that it had found unsafe lead concentrations in one of its lunchboxes sold to a summer camp. The company did nothing to correct the problem, he said. The center sued T-A Creations in July 2006.
According to state law, the Center for Environmental Health would get $2.5 million from the default judgment, and $7.5 million is to go to a special state environmental research and enforcement fund.
David Chen, T-A Creations’ chief executive, said Wednesday that he had not been informed of the court decision. He declined to comment further.